Illinois commission won’t fine in fatal pipeline explosion

July 13, 2018

DIXON, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Commerce Commission won’t be issuing a fine in connection to a fatal gas pipeline explosion that killed two men and injured two others in the northern part of the state.

M&R Farms workers operating a tiling plow ruptured the high-pressure pipeline on Dec. 5, causing the explosion near Nachusa, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) west of Chicago. The workers were installing drainage tile.

Investigators with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration determined the owner of the land failed to contact the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators before beginning the project. The law requires notification a minimum of 48 business hours before digging can begin.

The commission has determined that there was a violation of law in the case, but won’t impose a penalty due to the tragic circumstances, Sauk Valley Media reported. Fifty-nine-year-old Rory Miller of Amboy and his son, 30-year-old Ryan of Oregon, were killed. Kyler Ackland of West Brooklyn and Michael Koster of Sterling were injured.

“Underground utility lines can be found an almost any depth, so even simple excavating or demolition projects require a locate request,” Marianne Manko, the commission’s director of public affairs, said in an emailed statement Thursday.

M&R Farms could’ve been fined up to $5,000 for the infraction, but the commission also decided to take into account the farm’s previous history of regularly reporting projects involving digs, according to Manko.


Information from: Sauk Valley Media, http://www.saukvalley.com

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